Düsseldorf The basketball team in the second division, ART Giants, defeated Baskets Koblenz in a dramatic and decisive third playoff game. In the semifinals next week, they will face the Orange Academy Ulm, who knocked the favorite WWU Baskets Münster out of the promotion race.
What a thrill, what a drama – Alfred Hitchcock really could not have dreamed of this gameplay better! The final seconds of the third and decisive playoff match in Koblenz between ART Giants and EPG Baskets Koblenz did not keep the electrified spectators, including a loud crowd of fans from Düsseldorf, in place. There were 24 seconds left, the Giants were 78:79 behind. Coach Florian Flabb took one last break and announced the move. As expected, Düsseldorf downplayed the attack clock before Franklyn Aunitz pulled to the basket. Here was Mark Gebhardt. He passed the ball on to Booker Coplin, who coolly and safely got the ball in pockets from distance two seconds before the final whistle. The rest was cheering. In the end, Düsseldorf won the third and decisive quarter-final game 82:79 (46:42) and advanced to the semifinals of the 2nd Bundesliga Pro B. There they will next week meet the Orange Academy Ulm, who threw the favorites WWU Baskets Münster out the promotion race.
“It’s insane! In the end, the game was on the edge of the knife, it could have gone both ways. The whole season so far has been like a Cinderella story: After a bad start, we fought our way into it, finishing in second place in the North Relay and “Now we’re even in the semi-finals of the play-offs. We now have everything in our own hands,” said coach Florian Flabb, visibly proud.
The whole match was balanced, neither team could break out. Compared to the defeat in the state capital, the Düsseldorfers were more present, played more physically, had sovereignty with rebounds. The good quota from the top point area was striking (twelve out of 17 successful attempts before the break). Quadre Lollis (eleven points) and Lennart Boner (six) stood out until the turn.
The American Booker Coplin presented himself in absolute gala form. The Koblenz team could not stop him and scored 31 points.
In the third quarter, the visitors remained in the lead (62:57), but the events toppled in the last section. Here there were nine (!) Leadership changes. The Giants were a bit lucky as they made several turnovers in the attack in a short phase, but the opponent could not take advantage of this and only took the lead 77:74. With 90 seconds left, Coplin reduced the lead to 76:77 before putting his team ahead. Brian Butler countered and gave Koblenz the lead again 24 seconds before the final whistle – it was to be their last. A brilliant move by Düsseldorf with the three of “Iceman” Booker Coplin made the decision. The playoff adventure and the dream of promotion to second-tier Pro A continues for the Düsseldorf team.
On Friday, they still failed to close the bag ahead of time in their own hall. In front of about 550 spectators who gave goosebumps, they clearly lost by 64:78. At the break, they were 37:25 in the lead, but a poor performance in the third quarter (6:26) broke their necks.
“That was the crux of the matter. At this stage, the Koblenz players simply acted much more physically, so we could not really counteract them. Then we collapsed a little offensively, and the Baskets scored much better from the line of three than in the first half, “Flabb had to admit the deserved defeat. However, he and his team drew the right conclusions and came to trump in Koblenz just 44 hours later.